June 2013

#71 – Adele – “Chasing Pavements” – (2008)

Like her or not (there’s a case for both as she’s mega-talented but her songs are all downers and they are played way too often on popular radio), this was the start of it all for Adele. It won one of three Grammys it was nominated for (which would be unacceptable for post-2008 Adele) but the other winners deserved their awards as well. This song was only a #1 hit in Norway and it peaked at #21 on the Hot 100. She really made waves with this song and, in turn, the album 19 – both of which set the stage for 21 to be one of the biggest albums of its own decade.

#72 – Matt White – “Love” – (2007)

“Love” was a not a charting single from Matt White (he really hasn’t had a charting single yet). But the song was used in a commercial for McDonald’s for the McRib which was about everywhere in 2007 or 2008 (I don’t quite remember when). The song is relatively simple – which is nice. It’s the perfect type of song that plays at weddings while they serve dinner – if that makes any sense.

#73 – Jay-Z and Linkin Park – “Numb/Encore” – (2004)

In the era of YouTube, mashups are everywhere. Some creative individual will take a random song and splice and weave it together with another random track and create something new. Well back in 2004, mashups weren’t heard by most people outside of clubs and certainly not on the radio. Well that changed with the release of Collision Course – a collaborative album between Linkin Park and Jay-Z. It only had six songs on it and they were all Jay-Z songs mashed with those from Linkin Park. A couple of them are really good – this one might be the best. Lyrics are drawn from both songs and the music is from Linkin Park’s “Numb.” It was a #1 single on the Eurochart 100 and in Ireland and a top 20 in the U.S. Mixing two popular songs doesn’t get much better than this – because it enhances both songs.

#74 – Duffy – “Mercy” – (2008)

Duffy (born Amie Duffy) is a Welsh singer who made an international splash in 2008 with this pop song. It has a very 1960s “Swinging London” sound to it. It was nominated for Grammys and featured in a ton of TV shows. It was a #1 all over Europe, including the U.K. and Germany but only peaked at #27 on the Hot 100 – it would have charted higher had Billboard taken TV spots into account for airplay. Duffy has yet to make an impact with another single stateside – but she certainly has the talent and if she can write a song half this good, she’ll have a hit.

#75 – Christina Aguilera – “Ain’t No Other Man” – (2006)

I’ll be the first to admit that Christina Aguilera peaked with her debut album. No doubt. The album she released previous to this was the album that took Christina from teen idol to, well, slutty sex symbol. Four years later she released this album which showed that she had grown up and emphasized her talent over her looks. This is the best song Christina has released since her debut album. The song uses horns and has a funky soul feel to it (and samples and old soul song). It became a top ten hit in the U.S. and in most of the world. It only hit #1 on one chart: the Hot Dance Club Songs.

#76 – Matchbox Twenty – “Bent” – (2000)

Well I hope you like Matchbox Twenty because this is not the last time they will appear on this countdown. I just had to go back and listen to the three singles from Mad Season and justify this song being #76 (versus potentially elsewhere on the list or not on it at all). I think I got it right. And I’ll go ahead and say here that the song featured next Monday should have been swapped with this song, but I’m already this far writing it and don’t want to start over. This was a #1 on the Hot 100 – bumped by one of ‘N Sync’s biggest tracks, making this their biggest hit. Rob Thomas should be considered one of the kings of the 2000s. He was everywhere – he had the first #1 hit of the new millennium and continued pumping out hits – from lead singer, to solo artist, to feature artist. And this is one of the best.

#77 – Train – “Drops of Jupiter” – (2001)

I kind of like this song – it’s one of those songs that, when it comes on the radio in the car, I’ll switch to other stations to find something better. I will return to it only if I fail to find something better. Train is a band a lot like Maroon 5 – they both appeal mainly to the Adult Contemporary crowd with their piano soft rock. Both of their new singles tend to be massively overplayed when new and they are best appreciated the first time you hear them and years later when the annoyingness has worn off. That’s where I’m at with this song. It was played a lot. Still is, kind of. It was a top five hit. But as I sit here and listen to it now, I realize it was easily one of the top 100 songs of the decade.

#78 – Paolo Nutini – “New Shoes” – (2006)

Paolo Nutini is a Scottish singer and These Streets was his first album. This was single no. 4 in the U.K. and the first single released by him in the U.S. It wasn’t a massive hit – bubbling under on the Hot 100, peaking at #108. But it was in commercials and did get some radio airplay. What’s even more is how catchy the song is and the fact that it didn’t become a hit. I feel like it was more popular than #108, but maybe I’m misremembering.

#79 – No Doubt – “Bathwater” – (2000)

This is one of my favorite No Doubt songs. I can’t really explain why, either. It’s definitely not from their best album, nor was it their most popular. In fact, it didn’t even crack the Hot 100 and barely the top 40 on the Adult Top 40 chart (at #39), which I guess makes it a Top 40 hit. I guess the genre of this song could be considered “ska punk” but it was definitely a flop as a pop song. And it was written in only 10 minutes. But I love it.

#80 – Maroon 5 – “This Love” – (2002)

I really can’t stand Maroon 5 anymore – their songs are on the radio 24/7 and it seems like radio stations are willing to play any single they decide to release – good or not. And dumb radio listeners eat it up even though they all sound the same. Well this was Maroon 5’s second single and the best song from their debut album. It’s still one of their best songs. It was a top five in the U.S. and a top 10 in most of the world. The song was played all the time – not a bad thing in the day. It’s just that every other song of theirs became played all the time. And Adam Levine became kind of annoying with his multiple television appearances etc. But this was a good one.

#81 – R. Kelly – “Ignition (Remix)” – (2003)

Before we get to R. Kelly, I want to say something real quick: Lady Gaga does not appear on this list. “Bad Romance” probably would have, but I featured it elsewhere. Oh well. Now: “Ignition.” This is one of my favorite hip-hop (yeah, it’s R&B, I know but it’s close enough to hip-hop for me to call it hip-hop) songs ever – I can sing most of the lyrics. It’s R. Kelly’s best song he’s ever done. “So baby give me that toot, toot!”… “It’s the remix to ignition – hot and fresh out the kitchen. Mama rollin’ that body got every man in here wishin’. Sippin’ on Coke and rum – I’m like ‘So what? I’m drunk.’ It’s the freakin’ weekend baby I’m about to have me some fun.” This went all the way to #2 on the Hot 100 and rightfully so (considering the Hot 100 during the 2000s was almost dominated by hip-hop).

#82 – Daniel Powter – “Bad Day” – (2006)

The album cover at left probably isn’t big enough, but it really shows how dated this is. Look at what he’s wearing, the text on the cover – the picture itself. Was 2006 that long ago? I feel old. And talk about a one-hit wonder: this guy shows up out of nowhere (Canada) with his little hat, scores his first #1, and promptly vanishes back into obscurity. Fun fact: this was the first song to ever sell 2 million digital copies (iTunes). It was everywhere. And the first time you heard it, you may have thought, “Hey, this song ain’t half bad!” And then you heard it another 4 million times. It’s still significant for the decade though.

#83 – Carrie Underwood – “Before He Cheats” – (2005)

Uh-oh. Country? Yep, sorry. Carrie Underwood is the second-coming of Shania Twain: beautiful, talented country-pop crossover artist with solid fan bases that only operate in one spectrum. The song, for me, cemented Carrie Underwood as the best thing to come out of that awful American Idol thing. This was a country #1 for a month and a top ten hit on the Hot 100, Pop Songs, Adult Pop Songs, and Adult Contemporary charts. And the Canadian Hot 100. While it is a country song – like all of Ms. Underwood’s best songs – has a rock flair to it that makes it successful on other charts. Did I mention how beautiful she is?

#84 – The Bloodhound Gang – “The Bad Touch” – (2000)

Okay, so this album (and single) was released in Europe in 1999 but it didn’t reach American shores until 2000, thus its inclusion on this countdown. And what can you say about it? The chorus: “You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals, so let’s do it like they do it on the Discovery channel” is fairly famous and hilarious – especially for a pop song that would end up charting at #1 in a handful of countries. It received sizeable airplay in the U.S. (and still gets some). The lyrics are fantastic – I’ve never heard so many double entendres compacted in such a short span. I really don’t know what else to say: electronic beat and almost-rap vocals. Only in 1999/2000 would this song have been a hit. It was a different time.

#85 – The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – “The Golden Age” – (2009)

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour is a Danish pop band and this is the song that put them on the map. It was featured in a Heineken commercial (which doubles as the music video – Heineken has used some pretty awesome music in their ad campaigns over the past five years or so). The song is from their debut album and is a combination of styles that gives it a cool vibe – especially with the accented vocals from lead singer Mette Lindberg. Oh, also: there’s a horn section! It’s just one of those original songs that picked up a sizeable amount of fame during the decade.

#86 – Incubus – “Warning” – (2001)

I couldn’t decide between this and another song from this album – they’re very similar. But I picked this one and my reasons aren’t even clear to me. I guess it’s because I remember it more. It was the third single from Morning View – which, coincidentally, is the last Incubus album I really cared about or even noticed was released. I kind of gave up on this genre of music shortly after – which is why the forthcoming “Top Rock Songs of the 00s” will probably piss a lot of people off because it’s weighted heavily toward the early 2000s. Oh well. This is still a decent song and proof that Incubus really rocked (and might still, I couldn’t tell you). Also: I love some of the lyrics especially the beginning “Bat your eyes girl…”

#87 – Evan & Jaron – “Crazy for This Girl” – (2000)

Evan & Jaron were a legitimate one-hit wonder when they hit #15 on the Hot 100 in 2000/01. This song has the 90s written all over it, having just missed the decade, technically. I’d still call it a 90s song, knowing full well it was released toward the end of 2000. It’s really good, too. Evan & Jaron were actually brothers and Jaron has gone on to have a hit on the country charts back in 2009. I just really like this song.

#88 – Natasha Bedingfield – “Pocket Full of Sunshine” – (2007)

One thing I really like about this song is how quick Natasha Bedingfield sings the verses. And then the chorus sounds like it’s being sung by someone else entirely. She just screams “Take me away” and then immediately switches back to “I got a pocket got pocket full of sunshine.” This was released as a single in 2008 from the album that came out at the end of 2007 – one of two albums she released that year. It was a top five single in the U.S. in 2008 and wasn’t released as a single in Europe until 2011. Which is strange. But it’s a really catchy pop song and it’s on this list for its awesome vocals.

#89 – OutKast – “Ms. Jackson” – (2000)

There shouldn’t be any argument that Stankonia was one of the best hip-hop albums of the decade and this was the most successful song from it. It was a #1 in the U.S. and a few other countries. It is not, however, the highest-charting OutKast song on this countdown. This song put OutKast on the map for people who were previously unaware of the duo. It was heard all over the place in the beginning half of 2001. And everyone knows the chorus and loves to sing along with Andre 3000’s “ooohs.”

#90 – Semisonic – “Chemistry” – (2001)

Semisonic seems to always be labeled a one-hit wonder and while they only had one massive, decade-defining hit, they also had other, smaller hits. Like this one. It’s a great song and it blows my mind how it didn’t get more airplay as good as it is. I definitely remember hearing it on the radio in 2001. It charted in the U.K. and in the U.S. on the Modern Rock chart. Every time I hear this, I think “Good Lord, that’s a good, catchy pop song. What is wrong with people and why is their taste so awful?” This shoulda been a bigger hit.